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“We Use Lost SIM Cards to Hack Into Bank Accounts” – Suspect



"We Use Lost SIM Cards to Hack Into Bank Accounts" - Suspect

Zakarriyah Yahaya, A 46-year-old suspect, has disclosed how he empties people’s bank accounts with his cohort through lost or stolen sim cards.

Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Abuja on Monday, August 16, paraded 39 suspects for various crimes among which was Yahaya, also known as “His Excellency” at the defunct headquarter.

Yahaya, while speaking to the reporters said it’s easy to access the bank account of Nigerians receiving alerts through their phone numbers.


The suspect explained he has been doing this for two years and has over 11 members in his gang.

He gave their operation bases to be Kano, Plateau, and Abuja.

“My name is Zakarriyah Yahaya, he said I was born and brought up in Jos, I was arrested last month in Mabushi here in Abuja. I used to reset SIMs that receive bank alert. I will reset it and steal all the money inside the bank account.

“I do reset it with victim’s bank account number through bank code from the first to the last number. Any bank that we get, we first use it to buy recharge card, from there, they will send us the alert. From the alert, we will now get the account number.”


“The highest amount we have stolen was N800,000” he said and i cant recall the number of banks we have stolen from.

Frank Mba, the Police spokesperson, explained how the criminals operate based on their investigation.

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He said the criminals usually acquire SIM packs in large numbers and re-activate old phone numbers people don’t use anymore to explore any bank account’s details.

“Yahaya Zakari controls multiple gangs of cyber crooks whose talk-in-trade is to go after SIM cards, phone numbers of innocent Nigerians, breaking into their privacy, steal their banks’ IDs, and steal money from their accounts.

“They have two main modus operandi. The first is to go and purchase or acquire lines, the new starter kits in large numbers. When they get these, they triy to hack the BVN.

“Experience has shown them that at this stage, some of our service providers are recycling old numbers. Persons who had used phones and probably for some reasons have travelled out of the country, or for any other reason chose not to use the number again, and those numbers are dormant and currently being recycled and being re-issued to persons as new numbers.


“They are very skillful and they have ways of knowing or decoding old numbers. So, when they put on their starter packs, and they are given options to select numbers, they select old numbers, and at random, they try to explore and see if they can get bank details from those old numbers. That is their first modus.”

Mba said “The second, which is very dangerous is where they hurt innocent citizens physically by forcefully snatching their phones from them, or sometimes getting these phones stolen via pickpocketing.

“Once they get these phones, their target is not the phone, no matter how expensive your phone is, they are not interested in that phone, that’s not the main target. That could actually be a by-product or a side benefit from the crime, but the major target is your SIM card.


“And once they get your SIM card, they play around with it, and see if they can find anything that would link them to the your accounts,
If they get access to the bank details, they go straight to steal your money.

The lesson for all of us here is that, we must guide our phones jealously. Even when you lose a phone or a number and you think you’ve got two or three other numbers or lines, don’t let your number go back to strange hands, go back to your service providers to re-activate and re-claim your line.”

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